Federal Group

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The Federal Group owns and operates tourism, entertainment and gaming businesses in Tasmania. It is also known as either Federal Hotels, or Federal Hotels and Resorts on websites.


Established in 1888, the Federal Group lay claim to being Australia's oldest, and the world's third oldest, hotel chain.

The Federal Group is currently owned and operated by the Farrell Family, consisting of Greg Farrell (managing director), John Farrell (director of business development), Julia Farrell (director of interior design), Deborah Lee (née Farrell; board member) and Jane Farrell (board member).

Its main property historically has been the Wrest Point Hotel Casino in Hobart—and over time it has developed further properties in Tasmania. In the late 1990s and early 2000s the company has increased a significant presence on the West Coast of Tasmania and is the operator of the West Coast Wilderness Railway which is the rebuilt Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company railway line. During the 2000s, other properties acquired included Freycinet Lodge, Cradle Mountain Chateau, The Henry Jones Art Hotel, and the 9/11 bottle shop chain.

Tourism division[edit]

After the acquisition of Freycinet Lodge and Cradle Mountain Chateau, the group's main tourism destinations (Freycinet Lodge, Cradle Mountain Chateau, and The Strahan Village) and their associated activities and attractions were marketed under the Pure Tasmania brand (Falling under the Federal Group Division of Tourism). In December 2007 the group acquired The Henry Jones Art Hotel in Hobart, and has recently opened the opulent Saffire Freycinet Sanctuary in mid-2010, with award-winning lighting design by PointOfView Sydney. Both these properties operate under the Pure Tasmania banner. Future development plans include a resort in Port Arthur.

Entertainment and gaming division[edit]

Tasmania's second referendum since formation of the state was held in 1968, about the establishment of the Wrest Point Casino. The Premier Eric Reece was unable to sustain a clear majority in cabinet and consequently a referendum as taken on the issue of gambling in the state. The no vote of 35% was unable to meet the yes vote of 58%. As a result, Tasmania was the first state in Australia to operate a casino.

The Federal Group runs both Tasmanian casinos:

  • Wrest Point Hotel Casino in Sandy Bay, Hobart – this was the first Casino in the southern hemisphere. There is 3 to 5 star accommodation available at Wrest Point. The Tower accommodation has the best views of the Hobart landscape. The Revolving Restaurant and Pier One Restaurant are located at Wrest Point. There are three large Poker machine floors in the casino, and several large convention centres.
  • Country Club Casino in Prospect, Launceston – Golf course and small casino.

Additionally, the group operates a range of pubs and clubs under the Vantage Group banner, and the successful 9/11 bottle shop chain. The Federal Group has the current license to operate poker machines in Tasmania. These include all machines located in Federal-owned hotels and casinos, and Oasis poker machines (located in pubs and bars). There was a deal made with the Tasmanian Government to allow this, in which the Tasmanian Government collects a higher tax on these machines, and for the Federal Group to contribute to the Tasmanian economy via investments in tourism properties. The group also operates Tas Keno—this is now networked into pubs and clubs all over Tasmania and is operated electronically.

In 2012, the Federal Group stymied a proposed trial into reducing the harm caused by problem gambling. The Premier, Lara Giddings, proposed conducting a trial of mandatory pre-commitment technology in Tasmania, which was refused by the Federal Group—the major poker machine operator in the state.[1]

Tourist accommodation[edit]

  • Country Club Resort and Villas, Country Club Ave, Prospect Vale.
  • Wrest Point Casino
  • The Henry Jones Art Hotel
  • Saffire Freycinet
  • MACq01 Hotel (2016)


  1. ^ "Dice loaded in clubs battle". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 2012-01-28. 
  • Newman, Terry Referendums (p. 304) in Alexander, Alison The Companion to Tasmanian History 2005 ISBN 1-86295-223-X
  • Sutton, Keith Blueprint for the Casino industry : Federal Hotels and Wrest Point Canberra: K. Sutton, c1992 ISBN 0-646-10490-X
  • National Library of Australia has a series of on-line photographs of Wrest Point taken in the 1960s of the interior decor.
  • "Dice loaded in clubs battle". smh.com.au. Retrieved 2015-08-09. 

External links[edit]